Thankfully for everyone weary of the backdating scandal, the SEC’s San Francisco office filed its last backdating case today.
It’s against Robert Verheecke, the CFO at tiny Blue Coat Systems, which took a $50 million charge because of backdated stock options. Verheecke, who was represented by Katten Muchin’s Bruce Vanyo, agreed to settle charges by paying $185,000 in fines, disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
Blue Coat GC Cameron Laughlin was demoted at the time of the company’s internal investigation. The audit committee said she knew about the backdating, but blamed it on her “limited public company securities and corporate governance experience.” Laughlin wasn’t a government target and is still at the company.
The reason we know it’s the last backdating case here is because S.F. SEC chief Marc Fagel told us so himself.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be any more coming from Washington, D.C., which apparently has Trident Microsystems in its sights.
The backdating era put the San Francisco SEC office on the map with high-profile cases against the likes of Apple and Brocade. It also brought controversy over why certain companies and executives, like Apple’s Steve Jobs, weren’t charged. And of course, it brought thousands of billable hours to white collar and securities lawyers all over the Bay Area. Backdating, may you rest in peace.
— Zusha Elinson